Sea King Force save thousands for charity
Money raised by a team of 14 Cyclists who completed a Marathon Cycle challenge from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose was handed over to three charities that hold special significance to the Fleet Air Arm.
In March this year members of the Royal Navy’s Sea King Force led by 849 Naval Air Squadron took part in a marathon long distance charity cycle ride from the RNAS Culdrose to the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) at Alrewas in Staffordshire. They covered a distance of over 400 miles in just five days during the coldest winter in years and despite almost having to cancel the last day due to heavy overnight snow; completed the challenge on 22 March the 10th anniversary of a tragic collision between two Sea King Airborne Surveillance and Control helicopters from the squadron over the Northern Gulf during Operation Telic in 2003. The two aircraft ‘Redrats 34 and 35’ were both lost with all seven aircrew.
“It was an outstanding effort by everyone, In particular Lieutenant Dave Anderson who organised the ride and led the fundraising,” Said Commander Andrew Rose, Commander Sea King at RNAS Culdrose and one of the riders to The NMA. “It was a hard 400 miles over five days in some of the worst weather for years; but everyone battled through falling snow, strong winds and freezing temperatures. Our inspiration was the memory of our friends and colleagues, lost on Operations 10 years ago, and the knowledge that we were raising significant amounts for charity – many of us had personal connections with the lost crews, others didn’t know them, but all felt very proud to be part of the SKASaC family. It was a memorable and moving experience.”
Overall the epic challenge raised £10,190 which was divided between three charities chosen to benefit from the NMA Memorial Cycle ride.
- Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) - £4,275
- Fly Navy Heritage Trust - £4,275
- National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) - £1,640
Mike Nixon Chief Executive Fly Navy Heritage Trust was on hand to receive a cheque from Captain Mark Garratt, Commanding officer RNAS Culdrose. “The FNHT is delighted to be a beneficiary of this tremendous adventure by a team of dedicated cyclists in some pretty appalling conditions. It was done in the best traditions of our Naval Aviation Heritage, commemorating the service to our country of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. We will remember Redrats 34 and 35.”
On hand also to receiving cheques on behalf of the National Memorial Arboretum was Annie Binding from The Royal British Legion County Office in Truro and Petty Officer Richie Harker the Culdrose representative for Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity.